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Friday, November 09, 2007

Tiger Nation welcomes a 'breather'

BATON ROUGE - In the storied, colored and often successful history of LSU football, there has never been a month like the one past.

A 28-24 win over No. 7 Florida, a 30-24 win over No. 18 Auburn and a 41-34 win over No. 17 Alabama all with thrilling fourth-quarter comebacks. Even the lone loss was pretty -a 43-37 setback in triple overtime at No. 17 Kentucky.

LSU, which has been in the top five all season, is No. 2 in the nation with an 8-1 record. With a win next week at Ole Miss, it will be 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference and clinch the West title. Not since 1959 has LSU been ranked so high for so long.

But everyone needs a break from the thrillers. This would be an excellent game to play a lot of players and get injured guys like defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey out early or not play him at all on his sprained right knee. It would be nice to have a game decided by halftime.

"It's about time for us to stop cutting loose with the close games," offensive tackle Carnell Stewart said.

On the surface, it looks like Louisiana Tech (4-5, 3-3 Western Athletic Conference) could provide that Saturday night at homecoming. The Bulldogs are 36-point underdogs.
Beware, however. Tulane looked much like the part back on Sept. 29 and took a 9-7 lead late in the second quarter before succumbing 34-9.

"Everybody thought we were going to walk all over Tulane, and we didn't," Dorsey cautioned.

He has a valid point. Tulane was as high an underdog as Tech, but Tech is obviously better than Tulane. First-year coach Derek Dooley's team nearly handed now-No. 14 Hawaii its only loss before falling 45-44 in overtime. The Bulldogs have two straight on the road at Utah State and Idaho and have won three of four since losing four in a row. They're hot. They have confidence. And they've been reading about LSU all week.

A close game developing would not be a shocker. LSU needs to make sure that doesn't happen by pounding Tech early with execution, avoiding penalties and a handful of plays instead of a huge bag of tricks.

That way, the Tigers can lower its nation's blood pressure naturally.


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